The Obama administration is expected to release a ruling on May 22 that will force food manufacturers to remove all traces of trans fats from foods sold in all types of stores throughout the nation.
Food corporations have routinely been removing trans fats from their products, so far reducing 85 percent of trans fats in their foods due to the correlation with heart disease, Politico reported.
The food industry has argued that the limited amount of trans fats left in their products is safe for consumers, and leaders have been working on a pitch to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that would allow “very limited amounts” of partially-hydrogenated oils, which can be found in sprinkles or ice cream. The FDA is expected to give an update on the rule on May 22.
Trans fats became popular in the 1950s, as food companies looked to move away from other fats, such as butter, that were deemed unhealthy and dangerous. After research began in the 1990s, more and more studies have shown a link between trans fats and the higher rates of cardiovascular disease among Americans.
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The Obama administration has targeted trans fats for years, officially recognizing the oils as being unsafe in 2013, Newsmax reported. Even with a decline of 85 percent, the oils can still be found in popular food products, such as fast food meals, popcorn and select types of breads.
“This is a massive win for public health. There are few targeted actions you can take in this space that have that kind of direct impact,” Sam Kass, a former advisor for nutrition at the White House and head director of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, said about the new changes.
Trans fats are known for giving many food products a longer shelf life at grocery stores, with frozen dinners, macaroni and cheese and other processed products containing the oils. The FDA is focusing on the added trans fats, not the natural trans fats that can be found in dairy and meat products.
Other groups are now paying attention to the new regulations, including environmental groups. Some say that food companies will switch from hydrogenated oils to palm oils; palm oil plantations would take the place of many forests around the nation and the world, destroying wildlife in the process.
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The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) is another group who’s been quite vocal about the federal government’s changes.
“Just because something isn’t generally recognized as safe, doesn’t mean an ingredient is not safe for a well recognized use,” a GMA official said.
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